whoa

Sep. 8th, 2005 06:32 pm
man, I feel useless now. I could totally have driven down to NOLA like those three intrepid Duke students, faked a press ID, and begun personally ferrying people out of there. Heck, I've got a five-seater. I could even get tons of bottled water on short notice. What was stopping me?

(Another, better question is: what was stopping all the journalists and cameramen who were going down there from doing the same? Afraid of losing their press credentials? It did boggle my mind, how they could just drive past starving people holding up "Water Please" signs without so much as tossing a bottle of Evian out the window.)

Link courtesy Making Light's illuminating entry.
(also known as: reading too many newsblogs may be bad for your health.)

yes, local officials could have done more. But there's accountability at the national level; even the head of FEMA didn't know about the situation at the convention center until much later than the general public. Besides, since the guy at the top doesn't consider this catastrophe as anything more than a publicity stunt (and this is only after he bothered to look out his window and state the obvious), I'd say there's plenty of blame to go around. I mean, it's not like he hasn't been cutting FEMA and flood control funding all along. His party, instead of looking for solutions, starts pointing fingers and proposing oh-so-useful tax relief programs for the afflicted. Short of actually flying out to Texas there's nothing I can personally do to help, and even the people I've donated my money to aren't allowed into the city because, y'know, that'll just encourage those lazy Orleanians to stay. Can't be helping the Louisiana insurgency, you know.

If I weren't so angry I would be frightened for my life.
Goodbye, Rehnquist. I hail your passing with mourning and respect. Hopefully the Shrub will be humbled enough by the Katrina-related criticism that he won't try to fill your place with one of his family's pet neocon judges.

...and pigs will fly.

Really, I can't even process the news anymore, much less think coherently about what the news implies. I think Katrina's left me numb.

Katrina

Sep. 2nd, 2005 08:42 am
NPR won't leave me alone. The blogging community is no relief. Natural tragedy compounded by human ineptitude and I can't get away from the bad news.

Seems to me, the situation is this:

magnitude of problem = 5x
aid that we can provide = x
aid that we are actually providing = 0.5x

...which is frustrating, but what can you do beyond donating funds and hoping they help? When I first heard that we were pulling people off search-and-rescue to maintain order, and that we were not accepting help from other countries, I was furious. Then I did some preliminary fact-finding and found this one from the Vancouver Sun that rationalizes the former and refutes the latter, and figure we gotta get our priorities straight. Yes, we want to find and rescue and help people. First, we need to be able to.

I'd do more newspaper-canvassing, but I have to go to work. Hopefully I'll be able to bury the angst by concentrating on some nice, clean circuitry.

Poor blog community. [pet, pet] It'll be okay.

Want good news? GryphonKing.Com will warm the nerdy heart. And Neil Gaiman has made a post with a kitten in it. Come on, it's a kitten. What could be better?
The alarm clock is set for 0545, which means that the BBC World Service was airing on NPR when I woke up. Took me a while to realize that I was actually awake, and not half-dreaming.

Anyway. I understand terrorism, in the abstract. In a nutshell, it's policy change through citizen influence. )

The irony of it is, they picked London. The Brits are famously sanguine, stoic, stiff-upper-lip sort of people. What were the terrorists thinking? Whose bright idea was this?
A bit ago, [livejournal.com profile] cheetahmaster posted a link to the speech made by the president of Harvard at a recent conference. It was made particularly notable for his implications that women in science and technology are not only socially hampered, but are by their very nature indisposed to those fields.

No points for guessing how I feel about that, considering my gender and my chosen field. Took it all rather personally, I'm afraid. Yes, there's quite a bit of societal pressure going on, but... genetic? (Is he calling me unnatural?)

The bit that struck me was Mr Summers's use of his children as illustration: So I think, while I would prefer to believe otherwise, I guess my two and a half year old twin daughters who were not given dolls and who were given trucks, and found themselves saying to each other, look, daddy truck is carrying the baby truck, tells me something. And I think it's just something that you probably have to recognize.

cut for tangential discussion of my own childhood toys )

Poor Mr Summers; after carefully not giving dolls to his daughters, he finds them mothering their trucks instead. So girls anthropomorphosize objects; so what? In what possible way does the girls' mothering instinct imply anything about their technical aptitude? The traits have nothing to do with one another. They could overlap, I suppose; I've been known to find onboard components "cute." Makes me a bit odd, perhaps, but it doesn't impact on my technical ability.

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